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Piers Morgan Tonight

News/Business. Interviews and current events.

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Us 21, Don 7, Peter Lanza 4, Adam Lanza 4, Sandy 3, Nancy Lanza 3, Obama 3, Wendy 3, Colorado 3, America 3, Cnn 2, United States 2, Spencer 2, Robbie Parker 2, Capella University 2, Susan Candiotti 2, Mourning 2, Soledad 2, Centrum 2, Connecticut 2,
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  CNN    Piers Morgan Tonight    News/Business.  
   Interviews and current events.  

    December 15, 2012
    6:00 - 7:00pm PST  

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there is no official service happening. they don't intend to have one through tonight. but they say they' had many people come through and they are trying to be one of the many places where people in the community can go and heal. police are talking to everyone who knew the shooter. also police say they're going to talk to the one adult who was injured in the shooting in the sdool. they use the words instrumental to describe what she might be able to provide. they're piecing together now what happened.
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>> police believe the shooter came here after the mother's murder, carrying weapons like these. what happened then? let's look at the time line based on police reports and eyewitnesss. 9:30 in the morning, that's when we believe he emerged from his car and headed into the school here. we don't know that there is his character but they've paid an awful lot of attention to this vehicle over the past few days. here's also where he encountered his first pabarricade because there was a security system on the door. put in by the principal.
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police later found that the glass here had been shot out or broken out by some fashion. that seems to be how he entered the school. so what happened after that. well, the first call to the police that said there was a problem came at 9:36. the first call saying that there was gun fire inside the school. obviously people in the school knew it because they could either hear it directly or because they heard it over the school's p.a. system. all the shooting took place in .a very small area, up in this part of the school. so it was important that everybody else have some idea that this was going on, so that they could try to be safe in these circumstances. beyond that, what happened? at 9:38, police were saying already they were hearing reports that the shooting was over. an incredibly short period of time. 2, 2 1/2 minutes maybe where the mulling, bulk if not all of the shooting took place. the next phase, 9:40, police at
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the school said we need some emergency medical services here. that's the first call for ambulances. it's for two ambulances to begin with. and then as they realized they had many more victims in a matter of minutes, there was a call for many, many more emergency medical technicians and ambulances to come to the school. and then surprisingly, by 9:50 in the morning, we just put this because the times have been a little bit loose, by 9:50, police were essentially saying that they had a suspect who was down, meaning one suspect who was dead. they had secured the building to some degree. they cleared the building is the language they used and a lot of the kids were being led away. this is the picture from the "newton bee" of the kids being led away. in any event, this is a short period of time, 17 to 20 minutes that this went from nothing happening to all of these events happening that have changed the lives so many people. and police will continue going over and over and over again, the details of the movement of
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this shooter and his victims to try to get a better understanding of precisely how it all happened. of. >> tom foreman with a look at the time line for us tonight. let's go right back to don lemon. don? >> all right, soledad. that's what happened inside the school. we have some new developments to tell you about from here in newtown. the president, president barack obama will be here tomorrow. the white house says the president will meet with the family of the victims, the 20 children and the six adults killed in their elementary school yesterday. also, we have reaction this evening from peter lanza, the father of the 20-year-old police say killed those people and then killed himself. the father says, quote, our family is grooeing along with all those who have been affected by this enormous tragedy. no words can truly express how heart broken we are. now, let me show you this picture that was just obtained by cnn. it shows adam lanza, back in
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2005. he would be about 13 years old in this picture. and we have word tonight from police who are trying to learn why this young man would commit such an horrific act. they say they have found very good evidence in adam lanza's home that is helping them put together the puzzle pieces in that investigation. that home is also a crime scene now. investigators say lanza's mother was killed in that house before the deadly rampage at the school. soledad, so many more details to emerge about this story. and this is just the beginning of it. >> no question about that, don. we want to talk a little bit more about one of the more remarkable testimonials that we heard today. it came from a man named robbie parker. and he was speaking about his daughter emilie. and while he was emotional and just absolutely devastated, the compassion that he was able to show was stunning.
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kim la was there while he was talking to reporters and has more for us. kyung, tell us more. >> one of the things he wanted to say was thank you. one of the reasons he called reporters to this church here, a church heifer only belonged to for ate months because he moved here to take a job at the hospital to take care of newborn children. taking care of children then having to lose his child. he called reporters here. hen't wanted to say thank you because so many people had reached out to his family to say we are so sorry, we are so horrifie horrified. you know, you can imagine how this man feels. he lost his child, but he wanted to take that moment and then express that he wanted to make sure that people understood that society should not be defined by this moment. here's a little bit of what have
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he said. >> i was leaving to work and she woke up before i left and, i've actually been teaching her portuguese. and so our last conversation was in portuguese. she told me good morning and asked how i was doing. i said that i was doing well. she said that she loved me. and i gave her a kiss and i was out the door. as the deep pain begins to settle into our hearts we find comfort reflecting on the incredible person that emilie was and how many lives she was able to touch in her short time here on earth. emilie was bright, creative and very loving. my daughter emilie would be one of the first ones to be standing and giving her love and support to all those victims, because that cease the type of person
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sha th that she is. not because of any parenting that my wife and i could have done, but because those are the gifts that were given to her by her heavenly father. >> reporter: and what he wanted to share is that he wanted to be like his daughter, that he was not angry, that he wanted to help other people. he says he now belongs to this group of parents, 20 sets of parents who now know exactly how it feels to lose your child in such a horrible way. but he also wanted to make sure that parents around the country and around the world understood that you can not take your children for granted, and you really, truly have to cherish them whenever you can. soledad? >> kyung lah, reporting that story for us. thank you. it was interesting to hear him talk about his family's faith and the degree to which that was helping his family cope at this time. and to also see reporters who had surrounded him to, you know,
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take pictures or record that interview, crying as he spoke because he was so emotional. we wanted to play a little bit more of what robbie parker had to say, as he remembered his daughter emilie in the most heart felt and touching ways. listen. >> i would really like to offer our deepest condolences to all the families who are directly affected by this shooting. it's an horrific tragedy and we want everyone to know that our hearts and our prayers go out to them. this includes the family of the shooter. i can't imagine how hard this experience must be for you. and i want you to know that our family and our love and our support goes out to you as well. my daughter emilie would be one of the first ones to be standing and giving her love and support
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to all those victims, because that's the type of person that she is. not because of any parenting that my wife and i could have done, but because those were the gifts that were given to her by her heavenly father. i have two really good friends at home who have set up a facebook page to help raise money for emilie. and when i've gotten on that and just seen the number of people who have expressed their condolences, it's been quite overwhelming. as the deep pain sets into our hearts, we find comfort on the incredible person that emilie was and how many lives she was able to touch in her short time here on earth. emilie was bright, creative and very loving. emilie was always willing to try new thing, other than food. she loved to use her talents to touch the lives of everyone that she came into contact with she
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was an exceptional artist, and she always carried around her markers and pencils so that she never missed an opportunity to draw a picture of make a card for those around her. i can't count the number of times emilie noticed someone feeling sad or frustrated and would rush to find a piece of paper to draw them a picture or to write them an encouraging note. emilie's card making was expressed beautifulfully this last october when she placed a very special card that she had made into the casket with her grandpa who also just recently died of a tragic accident. emilie was a mentor to her two little sisters delighting in teaching them how to read, dance and find the simple joys in life. emilie's laughter was infectious, and all those who had the pleasure to meet her would agree that this world is a better place because she has been in it. she was their best friend. they were all born within three
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years of each other, so by law they're very close. she was teaching my middle daughter to read. she would help my youngest daughter learn how to make things, show her how to do crafts. they looked up to her. and they looked to her when they needed comfort. usually that's same for a mom and a dad, but it was really sweet to see a time when one of them would fall or get their feelings hurt, how they would run to emilie to get support and hugs and kisses. she was the type of person who could just light up a room. she always had something kind to say about anybody. and her love and the strength that she gave us and the example that she showed us is remarkable.
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she is an incredible person and i'm so blessed to be her dad. i was leaving to work and she woke up before i left and i've actually being teaching her portuguese and so our last conversation was in portuguese. and she told me good morning and asked how i was doing. and i said that i was doing well. she said that she loved me and i gave her a kiss and i was out the door. free agency is given to all of us to act and choose whatever we want and god can't take that away from us. i know that's something he was given and that's something he chose to do with it. and i know god can't take that away. i'm not mad because i have my agency to make sure i use this event to do what i can, to do whatever i can. to want to make sure that my family and my wife and my
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daughters are taken care of and that if there's anything that i can do to help anybody at anytime, anywhere, that i would be willing to do that. as we move on from what happened here, what happened to so many people, let it not turn into something that defines us. but something that inspires us to be better, to be more compassionate, and more humble people. >> comments from the father of 6-year-old emilie parker who was one of 20 children who were killed inside the school that day. the roars who were watching his remarks and people at home crying as they heard what he had to say. and what a selfless thing to talk about how he wanted to be in a position to help other people even with his own daughter gone. let's go right back to don. >> it is so heart breaking.
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it's almost too much to take. i can't imagine how he is standing, soledad. little emilie was just one of 20 children, all of them either 6 or 7 years old. most of them girls. they were shot dead in their school yesterday along with six teachers and staff before the killer shot himself. and cnn's susan candiotti is also here in newtown. she's got the latest on what progress the police are making. >> reporter: investigators are learning more each day that may explain what led 20-year-old adam lanza to launch a vicious attack on young children and adults at an elementary school. >> our investigators at the crime scene, the school, and secondarily at the secondary crime scene that was discussed did produce some very -- a very good evidence in this investigation. that our investigators will be able to use in hopefully painting a complete picture as to how and more importantly, why this occurred. >> reporter: police won't say what that evidence is, however,
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investigators have been checking out gun ranges and sporting good stores. they followed a lead the shooter tried to buy a gun tuesday at this location. >> there's no information that substantiated that he tried to acquire guns recently. >> federal guns also said they collected weapons at the home. three more guns were found. these three rifle models, all older. they're being traced. at least one has been connected to the mother. three more weapons were discovered with the shooter in a classroom where he took his own life. according to law enforcement officials, the two handguns and semiautomatic long gun called a bushmaster were bought legally by his mother. the chief medical examiner says that long gun was used to kill several victims.
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>> i only did seven of the autopsies. the victims i had ranged from three to 11 woubds a piece and i only saw two of them with close-range shooting. all of them i know were caused by the long weapon. >> reporter: one relative describes the shooter as being a very bright young man who at times was home schooled by his mother. a law enforcement official tells us that his older brother says that his younger brother was autistic, but so far nothing adds up to a motive. susan candiotti, cnn, newtown, connecticut. >> all right, susan. thank you very much. and undoubtedly, there's some progress, but some questions will never be answered in this investigation. and let's not forget, though, the first victim of this tragedy. the mother of the shooter. next more about her and the weapons that ended up in the hands of her troubled son. questions?
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>> welcome back to cnn's coverage. i'm don lemon along with soledad o'brien. with within just the past few hours in this investigation, we've learned the names and the ages of the victims in yesterday's shooting here in newtown. six women and 20 students died at sandy hook elementary school. now, that number includes 12 girls and 8 boys. 16 of the kids were only 6 years old. the others had turned 7 in just the last few months. the father of the alleged shooter released a statement tonight. peter lanza says words cannot express his family's heart break. he says his family is in a, quote, state of disbelief. we also learned that president barack obama will be coming here in newtown tomorrow to meet with the familieses of those killed. and soledad, remember just a few months ago, the president having to meet with a family of the victims in colorado and now he's having to do it all over again here in connecticut.
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>> don, we're getting a little more details about the president's schedule. he'll meet with those families who lost loved ones. then he'll meet with first responders. but their actions, especially in the face of what they must have seen inside that school. so incredibly heroic. then he'll continue on with this interfaith meeting happening here. want to remember the first victim, that would be nancy lanza. she is the mother of the shooter. we now know she was killed by one of her own weapons. apparently she was a gun enthusiast. but there are have been few details beyond that that we know of her. david, what more do we know about this first victim? . >> well, essentially, that's what we came to this affluent neighborhood in newtown to find out. sort of the recurring theme that we seem to get is she was just a
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very pleasant person to be around. she was a big fan of gardening. often landscaping in her backyard and often took to a game of dice that the community in this area would often have a few times a month. really described as very much a tight-knit community. that image of this woman who moved with her family in 1998, eventually divorcing her husband years later, but raised her two boys in this very pick chturesq new england town is countered by this person who collected guns. in the only guns, but a bushmaster, a very high powered weapon, a glock, these are weapons that some consider high powered. some are just sort of your run of the mill weapons, but nonetheless, a collection of weapons here that at times can seem somewhat at odds with this gardener who used to play in parlor games with ladies night a few times a month with this very affluent community here. and it's hard to get a sense of it now, but many of these houses
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here, two and three-story homes, quite an affluent community. many people move to this area because of the school districts. that seems to be some of the recurring themes with the family members and other members of the neighborhood. they flock to this neighborhood because of the value of the school systems. so as tragic as this is, it hits a special note here in newtown because of the draw, because of the school systems. >> let me ask you a question, david. was there any indication -- we know she was a gun enthusiast -- was there any indication that's something she shared with her sons. >> i'm sorry, i couldn't quite hear that. >> i wanted to know if she in any way shared her enthusiasm for weapons and in some cases high powered weapons with either of her sons, one that we now know is the alleged shootner this case. >> you know, that's an
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interesting question. we have been getting conflicting reports about that. we're talking to the federal agencies here in the area. there are a number of gun ranges in this area. we've spoken to sop of the directors at some of those places. we do know that we do know this was an area that her son had shot at. but one of the individuals that i had spoken to earlier in the day said that she did show her brand-new rifle. from what this individual said, she took them to target shooting. that's contradicted by what some of these authorities are saying from the atf, from the fbi. so it's a bit of a muddled picture exactly how she used these weapons, whether they were just simply collector items that sat in her house or whether she was out there using them on abfrequent basis. regardless, there were six weapons that potentially could have been used by the shooter.
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and unfortunately he did get his hands on some of them and made use of them. >> incomplete portrait of nancy lanza to report to folks. thanks for that update. let's get back to don lemon. >> all right, thank you very much. the debate over gun control, and the second amendment to the constitution, most people think that they know what it says, but here's the actual text. we'll put it up. you decide for yourself what right it guarantees. a well regulated militia. there it is. a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state. the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. you know, this tragedy will once again fuel the debate over our right to bear arms in this country. and just how much regulation should there be regarding the accessibility of guns. i want to bring in now a former police officer, and he's now the director of the lead
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intelligence and protections a new york-based company. no one is talking about removing the right to bear arms. when you look at this, it says a well regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. that does not mean that you can go out and buy as many weapons as possible and go out and be able to shoot people. it's talking about if the government becomes a tyranny, is that not correct? >> that's part of the theory. i mean, to be able to keep the citizens free if the climate or mentality of the government changes. but these are weapons by people who are not stable. i support the second amendment. the problem is we're having people acquire firearms in our country today who are having me
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motionally. the vetting process for us in law enforcement includes psychological screening before they give us a handgun. that same standard does not apply to other people in the united states. we can just walk in with a driver's license, not know you from a hole in the ground and in two days, as in wisconsin, acquire a handgun. this is the problem. >> we have to evolve with the times. this was a different america when we wrote this amendment to the constitution. and i think we need to hid a chord of sensibility and decency and understand that we need to be pliable and come to compromise. that applies to both extremes here, the nra, whose philosophy is if you can see lightning and hear thunder you should get a gun and a liberal who thinks we're going to get rid of 300 million guns. >> during the colorado shooting, the theatre massacre. i went, in 20 minutes was able to buy an ar-15 and all the ammunition that went along with
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it by just showing a driver's license and feeling out a paper work. >> that's not the problem, a symptom of the problem. americans are scared today, too. when you turn on the tv and every other minute we're listening to shootings in movie theatres, you're wondering can you bring your children to a movie theatre. christmas time you think your family and children are safe at malls. school, texas a&m, virginia tech. now in grammar school. what's happening is we're affecting the psyche of the average american. and what they're doing is nay ear knee-jerk reacting by going out and acquiring this tool that they think is going to keep them safe, which in theory it will with proper training, which very few people are receiving except us in law enforcement. >> and there are two different schools of thought here, there's two different realities. the cultural violence for people who do not have respect for guns. then there are people like you who go out, they learn about guns, they handle them and
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they're very knowledgeable about guns. so the disconnect here is what? >> education. you see, we become educated in how to handle and manage these things. kind of like this issue about safeguarding them. this is the second shooting in a week that we've had someone acquire a gun because of someone failing to properly safeguard these weapons. >> what about the responsibility of people who own the guns. >> absolutely. in law enforcement it's impressed upon us the need to safeguard our weapons and there's a severe penalty if you lose one. if you think putting it in the top dresser drawer in your home is safeguarding it. when someone breaks in and takes it, the penalty is extreme. >> in colorado, i think gun ownership and applicationshave gone up by 40% within just the last year or so? >> gun sales in general are going through the roof. especially since the president was elected. you know, this is the dynamic that's going on in america.
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soo. >> that reminds me of the thing, he's coming to get your guns. no one has proposed any legislation on any said side and this president has not come to get anybody's guns. >> i always heard this president very intelligently make a remark when lefs challenged about reinstating the 1994 clinton assault rifle ban, he said the following -- we're going to focus on enforcement. that's the key. but there's a problem inherent to that, because you need resources to do that, don. you've got to have personnel and you've got to have money to support that. and all these things we're experiencing like gun shows where you can walk in, walk out requires an enforcement mechanism. you've got to have money and you've got to have personnel to enforce that. it's a complicated problem. but i have to say this to you, don. even if we reinstitute the clinton assault rifle ban in 1994, i don't think it's going to change things. there's so much ignorance in the way we develop these laws and a lack of familiarity on how to go toward with it, you can choke on it. >> and it's so plitized.
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when people talk about taking a look at gun laws in this country, no one is saying take away your right to bear arms. this is not a left or right -- well, it is. it's actually a left and right issue and in between. it's an intelligent argument or conversation that we should be having, not one about which side of the political aisle you're on. >> the thing i will say to you is all i want stood is know a little bit more about you other than the fact that you haven't been arrested. i think that's reasonable. and i would debate this with the nra until the cows came home. and on the other side of the fence, the extreme left liberal people that think they're going to wave a magic wand and make 300 million weapons you're aware of go away. >> you're going to create a black market. >> new york has the most restrictive gun laws in the united states. we have very good gun laws. we now have the biggest black market for them also. they filter in from georgia, virginia, arizona. you know, we know where they're coming from. i go back and say what i've said before, uh yo eve got to have
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resources to go in and arrest that problem and we don't have it. >> and the president says we need to have meaningful changes in this country when it comes to gun laws and a meaningful conversation. and that means not politicizing it in washington. >> we need compromise. >> thank you. >> my pleasure as always. >> most of us can't even imagine what the people here in newtown are going through right now. but tin we spoke to some people didn't have to imagine it. years ago. columbine survivors talk about how they got through their tragedy in 1999. people have doubts about taking aspirin for pain. but they haven't experienced extra strength bayer advanced aspirin. in fact, in a recent survey, 95% of people who tried it agreed that it relieved their headache fast. visit fastreliefchallenge.com today for a special trial offer. since ameriprise financial was founded back in 1894,
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>> people in newtown, connecticut are trying to come to grips with the tragedy that happened here.
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w45 can you tell us about the people whose loss is being felt in the community. >> they really emply fied what newtown and sandy hook and sandy hook school mean to us. san dpi hook, all three of my children wept there. and it is a very special school. it won a vanguard award a few years ago for innovation. i knew the former principal and my youngest child was there when -- i'm sorry. when this principle worked there. she was unlike a lot of administrators. she didn't have a formality to her. she had a big, beautiful smile that you can see in those
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pictures. i think she really proved on friday that she had the children's best interest at heart. what happens next in this community? i don't think anybody anywhere could imagine this sort of tragedy happening. how do you heal from that? >> we band together as a community. this town is 300 years old and it's been, you know, it's going to go on. we will support each other as we always have done. we'll be here for the families and we'll pull together. i think there's a lot of all of that in this town and we'll be okay. >> thank you for talking with us.
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thanks for coming out to talk to us. this is a very common theme from many of the families that we've had a chance to talk to today, don. the church over my shoulder, people have been streaming in all night. they don't have a formal service this evening. people sit and can be together. not just here but at many churches in the area have really opened up their doors and they're trying to spiritual live bring this community together. don, back to you. president barack obama will be here tomorrow. the white house says the president wants to meet the family of the 20 kids and six adults who were killed in their school yesterday.
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as for the man who allegedly killed all those people, police say they're making progress, piecing together what may have driven adam lanza to such an horrific act. they've been to his home where he allegedly killed his mother. every victim was hit by more than one shot. some of them were shot more than 10 times. police found three guns besides the suspect's body. how victims of the columbine shooting are mourning.
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the columbine massacre, 14 years ago, some are now parents themselves. >> you lose the sense that things could never happen to you. so many parents would say, this would never happen to my child's school. well, for me as a parent of a child, i believe this could easily happen at my child's school. that's because it has happened to me before. i would hope that the people involved will walk beside these children and the families for years to come. they have years and years of healing that they're going to be chasing. i hope we can come beside them and encourage them and focus positively on the lives of the ones that were lost.
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i want you to meet shawn graves. he was shot six times. he ended up in a wheelchair and to this day, he has pain because of it. i spoke with him about how the news of connecticut was affecting him. >> i live with pain physically on a daily basis because of injuries i sustained. but looking back then, i try not to think about it. but when something like this happens, that's the first thing you do, you begin to relive it. turning on the news and just watching the coverage loif from this point of view versus where i was then. it will take you through an emotional toll, that's for sure. a lot were reaching out to families after mass shootings. and they were just among the many around the world who are mourning in the wake of this tragedy.
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>> one of those reaching out is a survivor of the columbine massacre and is also a filmmaker. the film that he's made is called "columbine wounded minds." he's with us. it's nice to talk to you. when you first saw this unfolding loov, we heard from a young man who said it all came back to him. it's just horrifying to see it unfold. i have to imagine for anybody who survives something similar, it must be the very same thing for you, that you sort of flash back to that moment at columbine. is that true? >> yeah, absolutely. i mean, it's completely numbing, you know, right off the bat. sort of -- at first, when i turned on the tv and i saw it, it was a feeling of denial. i didn't really believe that it was happening again. and then, you know, you start getting the texts and the e-mails, phone calls and it just sort of sinks in and i start reliving all those moments all
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over again. >> tell me about the film that you made. i think there are lessons in that film that could be helpful to the people who are here in newtown. what's the film about? >> i'm making a film project that basically helps the future look better for those who survive through these kinds of tragedies. because what i want through for come lum bien, i was a junior at the time and i was in the cafeteria. i lost a bunch of friends. i went through some pretty horrific things, i didn't think there was something wrong with me. i felt it was 10 years before i felt there was anything i needed to have worked on. you know, i went back to reach out to my community and to see what kind of help there was still there for us. it dried up many, many, many
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years ago. so this is to try and find some sort of solution for those long-term healing effects for large communities. because it's really hard to get individual help for this amount of people. what i'm finding is all these communities are really the answer to all these things. so this is what that film is about, finding those communities and finding the answers to this long-term healing. >> it seems looic a message for those who try to decide, do do they get counseling, do they take advantage of the counseling that's here and now. you would say yes because, you know, all those years down the read, it may not be there. and you will be dealing with some serious challenges. >> absolutely. counseling for me right off the bat, it was difficult. i was in a room i wasn't really familiar with and i wasn't comfortable sharing me the most.
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reaching out to friends and family, those are the people that are going to get you through this in the long run. down the road you're going to focus on the people that you connect with in the beginning. so that's the main thing. go out and get some therapy if you really need it. but the best thing you can do is just be there with the ones you love. >> thank you for talking to us. we appreciate your time. want to go back to don lemon. >> all right, soledad, thank you. there are stories of heroism that come out of the tragedy in newtown. within of those stories is next. [ female announcer ] imagine skin so healthy, it never gets dry again. can your moisturizer do that? [ female announcer ] dermatologist recommended aveeno has an oat formula,
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let's get a quick update on this story for you. tomorrow will be another emotional day here in newtown. president obama will travel here to meet with the victim's families. he's also going to attend an
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interfaith vigil scheduled for tomorrow evening. police here say they are finding what they call very good evidence in their investigation. they also say a woman who was wounded at the school is providing information and will be, quote, instrumental to the investigation. the father of the shooter has released a statement. peter lanza says words cannot express his family's heart break. he says the family is in what he calls a state of disbelief. peter lanza's ex-wife nancy was the first victim. police believe her son shot her at her home before heading to the elementary school. nancy lanza was a gun collector and the guns used in the shootings belonged to her. let's send it back now to soledad. >> don, thank you. there was a vigil tonight for victoria soto, one of the very first victims that was announced publicly and identified publicly. 27 years old, a first grade teacher. and she was killed, shot and killed in her classroom.
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but she's being hailed today as a hero. kate bolduan spoke to a couple, some parents who say they believe that their son's life may have been saved because of this young teacher. >> robert and diane lakona has two children at that elementary school yesterday, a second-grader and their son in first grade who they say it is a miracle he made it out alive after coming face to face with the shooter. >> that's when they heard noises that they initially thought were hammers falling. then they realized that it was gunshots. and ms. soto, who was aden's teacher, had the presence of mind to move all the children to a distance away from the floor on the side of the room furthest away from the door. that's when the gunman burst in, did not say a word, no facial
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expressions, and proceeded to shoot their teacher. and they basically ran right next to the guy and out the door. >> they ran past the gunman. >> they ran past the guy. he's still standing in the door and they ran past him and ran down the hallway and they're one of the closest rooms to the main entrance. and aden was -- had the presence of mind to hold the door for one of his classmates. there was another one of his classmates that was a little behind. waited for him and they ran out to the main road. >> we know his teacher, victoria, soto, died in that classroom trying to protect her students. he knows his teacher was shot. do you think he knows that she likely did not make it? >> he keeps asking about her. i think he's reassuring himself that she's going to be okay. he really, really cared about his teacher. he was very close with her.
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and she really loved that class. and he keeps saying, i really hope she's okay, i hope it's not her. he knows that she's been hurt but he doesn't know the end result. he knows the kids that he saw getting shot. hep doesn't know the outcome. so i think he's reassuring himself in his 6-year-old mind. i know he's processing it. but i think he's reassuring himself. i think he's telling himself that it's going to be okay. we had to put the sign out in the front today asking people not to ring the doorbell because he still hasn't internalized the fact that this gunman, this bad guy is gone. and he wants to know if there are more bad guys in the world. and i don't know how to answer that question properly and so when someone rings the doorbell, he thinks it's him coming to, coming for him.
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and so he -- so i think our biggest concern now is making sure that we handle his sensitive nature properly and carefully and support him and support our daughter because she again does process things very differently than he does. so that's our job as parents now is to stay close to them, hold them, hug them, love them and let them know that they are safe. >> they did not want their children to be part of the interview. but i did spend time with them this morning. and aden and his sister, they seemed in high spirits. but clearly shaken. and as hard as it has been for this family, they say that their hearts go out to the so many other families who cannot go home and hug their children tonight. >> kate, thank you very much. that family obviously hurting tonight like many others are. the reverend david spencer is a chaplain and a grief counselor and wendy walsh is a human behavioral specialist.
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they both join me now. thanks for joining us on such a really horrific event here. the bottom line, it is hard to think past this tragedy. win wendy, what do you say to people trying to get past this? >> we have to understand that not only those children who witnessed things and the families who lost children with are traumatized by this but we're all traumatized by this. it's sort of secondary posttraumatic stress disorder that can occur from witnessing the story over and over on television. it's important we contain ourselves and our emotions in front of our children but still show compassion and love. let them lead the conversation so we tell them in simple, concrete terms about what happened. we assure them they are protected and safe with us. but more than anything, we watch for kids -- they have very different ways of dealing with trauma. they may regress. your child may want want in bed with you again. your child may wet the bed again
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long after you thought it was dealt with. this is not the time to be critical and not over-parent but understand this is part of the process for some children. >> and reverend spencer, when we were growing up, the schools, our places of worship, they used to be safe havens. one place evil never struck. that has changed. how do you tell children and parents on monday that their school is safe? >> well, i think most important is that we really be honest with your children and we talk about the fact that there is an evil in the world but there's also a good. and then continuing to reassure them that things will be all right and then make sure that we're putting things in place to make sure that they know that things will be well. constantly reminding them that we're there for you and we're supporting you. let them know the people at the school or at church are there to support you through this time. >> and as we look at these pictures you're looking at, this is just down the square from where i'm standing.
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this is a memorial that has been set up. there are 24 candles that you see there -- 26, i should say, in honor of all of the victims in this tragedy. wendy, as we look at that, we have been hearing a lot about gun control and mental health. what's more important in this particular issue? >> you know, it's hard to say. the gun control debate has been going on for so long and nobody can figure out where and how to do the regulation that the second amendment mentions. you mentioned earlier when you read it, the word well-regulated is in there. but we definitely need some mental health reform. unfortunately in america, you are free to be insane, you are free to not take your meds. you are free to be homeless, even. and you are free to kill. but when are we going to put compassion above freedom? and that may mean giving families and doctors more authority than we have been able to to keep people on their medication, so that they can have a better wherewithal to not
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make these choices. and i think that that's part of it is that we need to understand that when an emerging mental health problem -- this young man was 20. remember the arizona shooter was around the same age. this tends to be a time that if you're going to get schizophrenia as a male, the symptomology shows up. we don't know this guy's diagnosis but i wanted to say that. if you're over 18, your parent can't even get you help because it's not their responsibility anymore. you're now a free adult. >> wendy, reverend spencer, thank you both very much. >> thank you so much. >> a little while ago, i took a walk through this town of 27,000 people. all of them still trying to process the horror of what happened just down the road. right behind me, that's the road that leads up to the school where this happened. it has been blocked off. you can see the sign here right across the street on that porch, it says, god bless sandy hook. and right here in the middle of the square, 26 candles for all
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of the victims in this tragedy right here at the time square. and up the street, a church where the victims are being memorialized. this is one of the intimate little squares here in sandy hook. you can see the little quaint stores, beautiful little stores. and then come this way, you can see just the media. and people have taken this square over. when i talk to people here, they say, there's never this many people. there are never this many people who come to this town on a saturday or sunday. to see how intimate and beautiful this town is, look, a creek that runs right through it. the people of this small town probably never dreamed that their town would be tp focus of such pain and anguish and sorrow. this is the newtown methodist church. there's the church behind me. it's been one

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